Real Cost of College

Understand the Real Cost of College

College is the single most important financial decision of your life. And its expensive. Most families who consider a school look at tuition, but that can lead to misinformed financial decisions because it does not tell the entire story.

Too often, in trying to save a few thousand dollars on the sticker price, students and families make uninformed financial decisions that cost them many times over what they're attempting to save. The size of a scholarship does not answer the question of cost—but the bottom line does.


Real Cost of College Video Series

A Scholarship is Not the Measure of a Student's Worth

Schools give scholarships based on different factors. At Belhaven, we base our scholarships on your academic ability, your financial need, and how your being a student at Belhaven would benefit you. Schools simply give you less in "general" scholarship money in order to give you “merit” awards based on activities. This means you need to look at the whole package—and that picture emerges only after you’ve filed your federal aid forms.

Watch this video about important financial information

Scholarship Not the Measure of Your Worth
Beware of Tuition Reset Schools

Be Cautious of Tuition Reset Schools

It is becoming popular for some schools to “reset” their tuition by lowering it dramatically. When these schools lower tuition, they lower scholarships by the same amount. As a result, students end up paying the same amount “out-of-pocket” even though the “sticker price” is much lower.


Before Reset After Reset
4 Year Cost of Tuition / Room / Board $56,000 $46,000
Amount of Your Scholarship $16,000 $6,000
Real Cost of School $40,000 $40,000

There are Two Extremes of Housing Costs

Most flagship state universities don’t have enough housing. Consequently, you may get a room as a freshman, but you might be on your own after that. Others think it will cost less to live at home—and it will—but you still have to eat, drive, etc., so it’s still not really “free.” Plus, a significant part of higher education is learning to make it on your own, and that transition is much smoother from home, to university housing, then on to the world. It is tough out there on your own—Belhaven housing helps prepare the way at an affordable and “always available” rate.

Watch out for Fees

Watch Out for Additional Fees

Count the fees when you’re looking at total cost—especially at state institutions. Public universities are likely to charge extra for parking, activities you may never attend, and tickets to games and concerts.

Many state schools continually raise fee prices in order to “keep tuition low” and make legislatures and taxpayers happy. To the school, it doesn't matter if money comes from tuition, fees, or room and board. The bottom line is this—money is money, no matter how it is charged to the student (fees, tuition, etc.). Watch for schools that bulk up high fees in order to keep more visible tuition prices lower.

The Haven Advantage

We want you to graduate in four years, but we also want you to pursue your goals. That's why we were the first college in America to introduce the Double Major Promise. With careful planning, you can complete most double major options in four years. But if additional time is needed, Belhaven will provide your fifth year of tuition free to help you reach your goals and fulfill your academic passions. Want to earn a double degree? We will apply the same 5th year tuition free promise for double degrees too. In addition, we offer traditional-campus students who enroll and continue their studies at Belhaven through graduation, full tuition for any of our online master's programs. No other college in the country has these kinds of value added offers.

Double Major Tuition Free
Location Matters

Remember that Location Matters

Many students come to Belhaven from California or New York because we’re nearly half the price of schools in their region. For the price of a few plane tickets, they gain a huge cost savings. But we also have the advantage of being in a metropolitan area where stores, restaurants, and other services are abundant. If you go to school in a small town, those things cost more, plus you’ll have to own a car. Hidden costs of some colleges add up quickly, but are not necessary for the college experience at Belhaven.

Textbooks are Expensive

At most schools, college textbooks often cost $500 to $1,000 each semester. At Belhaven, our faculty are extremely conscious of cost, and work to pick less expensive books, use books that can be rented, and, where possible, assign free resources. In addition, at Belhaven we provide free textbooks for your required courses in literature and math. Yale does that for high-need students—we do it for all students. Nobody else does that.

See the full report on the Real Cost of College

Textbooks are Expensive